Magnolia Logo Ma.gnolia, a free social bookmarking service, has recently announced plans for a complete rewrite of their social bookmarking system that will lead to improved maintenance, expandability, customization and monetization. With so much work and such little time, Ma.gnolia certainly has its hands full with all the things planned for the future.At this point in time, Ma.gnolia is a social bookmarking service that offers similar functionality to Delicious. It is monetized through advertising. Truth be told, it is actually a well-thought out system and it has unique features that many users have shared their appreciation for. However, the system remains relatively closed to the Internet, and while an API allows third-parties to tap into Ma.gnolia, the development team feels that this is not good enough. This is why the company is preparing to make drastic moves to keep up with a constantly evolving Internet.

Building A Better Ma.gnolia

All of the plans for Ma.gnolia are subject to change. The company even admits that they might not accomplish what they have set out to do. However, the ideas are intriguing for anyone interested in social bookmarking.

Why Re-build Ma.gnolia?

The company's decision to re-build Ma.gnolia stems from problems that the company wishes to address: * The current system requires a significant amount of effort to maintain. Re-building could save time and effort in the long run. * The amount of features that are requested have been outweighing the amount that can actually be worked on. A complete re-write could address the existing and future feature requests in an easier manner by making the system more modular. * Instead of building upon the old Ruby on Rails code that the system was developed on, the company could expand upon newer technologies with a complete re-write. * Times have led to an emergence in an open web. People desire to have these types of applications open for the world to explore, and this is how Ma.gnolia sees itself in the future. * The developers of Ma.gnolia have learned some lessons in the past three years. A fresh start could help the company focus on the good while avoiding the bad. ma_ss.jpg
Out with the old Ma.gnolia?

Ma.gnolia's Goals for the Future

The Ma.gnolia team has outlined what goals they have for the future of their company:

Business-Related Goals

Ma.gnolia is a business, and as such, it needs to find ways to monetize their services so that the company can continue to expand. On the road to doing this, Ma.gnolia 2 will be aimed at exploring open source development, distributed services and open web standards. The project wouldn't go far without their users and the company intends on focusing on improving the project with direction from the community -- after all, it is the community that is going to be utilizing these products and services. The company also wants its systems to be constantly working, regardless of the current status of Gnolia Systems. The less fail whale seen, the better. Regardless, Ma.gnolia still wants to be profitable when the end of the year comes along. They will likely explore new and existing methods of generating revenue. Banner advertising is the likely scenario, but creating products and services aimed for corporate use is also a likely possibility that has been previously discussed by the company.

Community-Related Goals

A huge goal for Ma.gnolia is to strengthen the relationships of its community while maintaining mutual goals and interests. The company also wants to spread the benefits of shared web-based resources while creating and maintaining public and private areas for utilizing those resources. The company believes that if they can accomplish these things without much interference from the likes of spammers, it would be quite the achievement. More importantly, Ma.gnolia wants users and developers to be in control and to have a secure product to interact with and build upon. Hopefully the company puts security in the forefront of their efforts -- its importance is heavily underestimated by many Web 2.0 companies.

The Affects on Users and Developers

From what has be written, it seems likely that existing users of the primary Ma.gnolia service will not be affected, so users need not worry about their data being lost. In fact, it is likely that the existing Ma.gnolia service will continue to exist for months or, potentially, years until the project really takes off. Users who are interested in exploring M2 will have access to new products and services in the coming months that will appeal to various groups of people. For starters, all users will be able to download and install the Ma.gnolia system to their own server. Businesses and organizations can get in on the fun by subscribing to newer and custom built services provided by Ma.gnolia. Finally, users will eventually have the opportunity to explore new functionality, interfaces and social interactions that will come from the re-write of Ma.gnolia. Developers will -- unsurprisingly -- be allowed to contribute to Ma.gnolia's future. This new project will likely require hundreds, if not thousands, of man-hours to complete. The nature of open source software will allow developers to "re-shape" Ma.gnolia to make it fit a developer's or client's specific needs.

Ma.gnolia's Future

All of these plans will require time. It could be months, perhaps years, before progress is made. Sometime in September, users will likely have access to the base code of what Ma.gnolia 2 will grow from. ma_plan.jpg
A Look Into Ma.gnolia's Future
So this isn't the most awe-inspiring news to hit CMSWire, but the potential for great things to be built from Ma.gnolia's efforts is still a nice thought. It is only a plan, but it could evolve into a powerful framework that individuals and businesses of all sizes could utilize in the future. The company's charter (link to PDF) for Ma.gnolia 2 reveals all the information that anyone might desire to learn about the company's planned future. People who are interested in the project can see for themselves at M2's official site.